Participatory Agricultural Extension
Due to a multitude of reasons, extension in Vietnam is mainly top-down oriented. Topics included in extension often do not answer the immediate, pressing needs of the farmers, or do not comply with farmers’ working conditions and resources. The programme wants to contribute to a more needs-based extension in Vietnam, in line with the AE policies (Decree 56, decree 02/2010/ND-CP, MARD circular 60).
Many observers and stakeholders agree that the technological skills are fairly good. However, methodological skills need to be improved.
The main idea of the programme is to strengthen these methodological skills in order to have a better performing agricultural extension system. The main goal of the programme is therefore to build capacity in the Extension Workers (EWs) and the Farmers’ Clubs (FCs). To make this sustainable, the programme will on the one hand develop materials and a system for continued training and on the other hand, lobby for institutionalisation of the principles of participatory extension in the provincial extension system (at the level of the AEC management and DARD).
In phase 1 (2008-2010), in each province, a group of trainers was established that received thorough training by MDI and IAS. These trainers started end 2010 with the training of provincial EWs and FC leaders. Further training in the province will be monitored, training will receive limited support and the development of training materials will be finalised.
To integrate the participatory approach in the extension system, obviously support the management (DARD and AEC) needs to subscribe to the participatory approach and to apply this approach in the extension system.
DARD, which is approving funds for the AEC, needs to support the use of participatory methods and will be more involved, a process that started in 2010 and that will be continued.
The programme wants to continue to build capacity in the management of the AECs by organising regular meetings, workshops and provincial study tours, by developing adapted materials, and where appropriate by short training courses.
Sustainability would be indicated by a general plan for institutional integration although each province has its own views regarding extension: needs, resources, possibilities, vision, etc.…
Extension is said to be the responsibility of all actors in society. As a result, the extension landscape is rather diverse and also Mass Organizations (MOs) like Farmers’ Association and Women’s Union are eager to integrate extension in their activities because one of their core missions is to help their members raise their incomes and reduce poverty. These MOs are the stakeholders of result 2. In the 2nd phase we aim our activities only at MO management since the actual involvement of the MOs in AE is limited, but the role MO management can play in facilitating participatory approaches is real.
Specific objective (2011-2012)
DARD, AEC and MOs of 5 provinces have the capacity to jointly promote and support the use and institutionalization of participatory approaches in agricultural extension in view of improving the quality of agricultural extension.
- AEC/AES are incorporating PTD (Participatory Technology Development) in their regular extension activities
- The mass organizations are active and fully involved in the network that provides support to agricultural extension and they support / promote the use of participatory extension methodologies.